April 20, 2024

Healing Hues: Innovative Approaches to Gastritis Treatment.

Gastritis is the inflammation or irritation of the lining of the stomach. While usually not life-threatening, gastritis can cause frequent stomach pain, nausea and other uncomfortable symptoms. There are several treatment approaches available to help provide relief from gastritis.

Causes of Gastritis
To understand gastritis treatment, it’s important to first understand what causes this stomach problem. There are two main types of gastritis – acute and chronic. Acute gastritis is usually caused by infection or certain medications. Common causes of acute gastritis include:

– Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: H. pylori bacteria are one of the leading causes of chronic gastritis. If left untreated, an H. pylori infection can lead to more serious conditions like ulcers or even stomach cancer.

– Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can cause irritation or damage to the stomach lining if used regularly or in high doses.

– Alcohol overconsumption: Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is a major risk factor for gastritis. The stomach needs to produce extra acid to digest the alcohol, which can lead to damage over time.

Chronic gastritis, on the other hand, develops gradually over many years and has different causes compared to the acute form. Some common causes of chronic gastritis include:

– Autoimmune disorders: Conditions like pernicious anemia that involve a breakdown of the immune system response can increase long-term gastritis risk.

– Bile reflux: When bile travels backwards from the small intestine into the stomach, it can cause chronic irritation and inflammation.

– Stress and spicy foods: While not direct causes, long-term stress and a diet high in spicy or acidic foods may worsen existing gastritis symptoms over the years.

Gastritis Symptoms

The symptoms of gastritis can vary depending on the underlying cause and severity. Common symptoms include:

– Burning sensation or pain in the upper abdomen, often after eating
– Indigestion or an upset stomach
– Nausea, with or without vomiting
– Bloating and abdominal fullness
– Loss of appetite
– Weight loss (in cases of chronic gastritis)
– Feeling full quickly when eating
– Diarrhea or constipation
– Headache

For acute gastritis caused by medication or infection, symptoms often develop very quickly over hours or days. With chronic gastritis, symptoms tend to develop more gradually over months to years. More serious complications like bleeding can occur if gastritis goes untreated for an extended period of time.

Gastritis Diagnosis and Tests

Seeing a physician is important for diagnosing gastritis and determining the appropriate treatment. To make a diagnosis, doctors will take a thorough medical history and conduct a physical exam looking for any abdominal tenderness or swelling. Common tests used to diagnose gastritis include:

– Stool test for H. pylori infection: This non-invasive test can check for signs of H. pylori bacteria in the stool.

– Upper endoscopy: Also called an EGD, this procedure uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera to directly examine the lining of the upper GI tract and stomach. Small biopsy samples may also be taken.

– Blood tests: Specific blood tests can check for anemia, which may be present with chronic blood loss from gastritis. Tests can also identify autoimmune disorders.

– X-rays: A barium swallow x-ray or upper GI series uses barium sulfate and x-rays to detect any abnormalities or damage in the lining of the stomach.

Undergoing the appropriate tests allows doctors to determine the type, severity and specific cause of gastritis in creating an individualized treatment plan. Diagnosis is crucial before starting any treatment.

Gastritis Treatment Options

Treatment will depend on the identification of the underlying cause and severity of gastritis symptoms, but often involves lifestyle changes, medications, supplements, natural remedies or in some cases surgery. Here are some of the major treatment options:

Lifestyle Changes
Making changes in diet and reducing stressors on the stomach can help relieve symptoms and promote healing of gastric inflammation:

– Avoid spicy, acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol – These irritate the stomach lining.

– Small, frequent meals – Eating smaller portions more often is easier on the stomach than 3 large meals.

– Manage stress – Finding healthy ways like yoga or meditation to reduce chronic stress can benefit stomach health.

– Quit smoking – Smoking significantly increases gastritis and ulcer risk.

Medications
Prescription or over-the-counter medications may provide symptom relief and target underlying causes:

– Antacids – Neutralize stomach acid for quick relief of heartburn, pain.

– Acid reducers – H2 blockers and PPIs like omeprazole are prescribed to decrease acid production long-term.

– Antibiotics – If H. pylori infection is found, a multi-drug regimen is needed to eliminate the bacteria.

– NSAID gastroprotectants – Medicines like misoprostol can protect the stomach if NSAIDs must be used.

Supplements and Alternative Therapies
Natural supplements may offer an additional healing effect:

– Probiotics – Certain probiotic strains balance gut bacteria and help reduce H. pylori symptoms.

– Slippery elm – Acts as a protective coating for the stomach and intestines.

– DGL licorice – Soothes an inflamed stomach and accelerates healing of ulcers or erosions.

Surgery
Rarely, more serious cases of treatment-resistant gastritis or complications may require surgery:

– Removal of part of stomach (partial gastrectomy) – Only done if pre-cancerous changes are detected.

– Antrectomy – Removes distal stomach area as a cure for recalcitrant H. pylori infection causing chronic gastritis.

Ongoing Management
Successfully treating the underlying cause is key, but recurrent gastritis can happen. Periodic testing and symptom monitoring helps achieve long-term remission. With proper treatment and lifestyle management, most people see improvement of gastritis symptoms.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile